In July, Scarborough Borough Council will begin a sensitive audit of memorial stones in its three cemeteries to check they are stable and don’t pose a safety risk to people that visit
the cemeteries and the staff that work in them.
Councillor Tony Randerson, Scarborough Borough Council cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “We recognise how important and treasured memorial stones are to the families and
friends of those they commemorate. Many of the very old and ornate memorials are also of historic significance to the borough.
“At the same time, we have a legal duty to ensure our cemeteries are safe places for people to visit and work, which is why we need to carry out these inspections and take action to make unstable memorials safe.
“Our contractors will be respectful of the environment they are working in and inspections will never be conducted when burials or grave side services are taking place nearby.”
The inspections will be carried out on the council’s behalf by a qualified contractor.
A visual test of each memorial will take place to look for cracks, unsecure joints and unstable foundations. A gentle hand push test, carried out sensitively, will also be used to identify any movement between the different parts of the memorial.
Test results will be recorded. Safe memorials will be flagged for inspection again in five years’ time.
Memorials that are recorded unsafe, will immediately be carefully staked and banded to make them safe. A notice will be placed by the memorial stating the reason for staking and who to contact for further information. The contractor will also inform the council’s bereavement services team so they can get in touch with the last known grave owner.
Only when absolutely necessary will a memorial be laid flat.
It is anticipated the council’s contractor will complete his work by the end of March 2023, at the latest.
Owners of unsafe memorials will be given time to make the required repairs. This will be three months for staked memorials and six months for those laid flat.
The council is also using its online channels and physical notices in the cemeteries to raise awareness.
More information about the inspection process is available at scarborough.gov.uk under the cemeteries and crematorium section. Alternatively people can email [email protected] or call 01723 372652.